September 20, 2012

David Byrne + St. Vincent // Chicago // The Full Story


So for those of you who were not fortunate enough to make your way over to The Chicago Theatre on the night of 9.18, then here's the low down on what went on inside that venue on that magical night. The woman in me needs to give you the back story though, so buckle in for the full review.

The Look:

Me about to board the train for the city.
Sported my Pendleton Coat, spunky shirt, and a pair of
rad Ralph Lauren Pants that I scored at the thrift. Of course
I keep the red going with the shoes-ready for groovin!
This was a good concert outfit for sure.


So it all started when I was old enough to hear music... ha, no but really. Talking Heads have always been on my list of favourite bands. I used to groove and sing along to 'Burning Down The House', 'Psycho Killer', and 'Once In A Lifetime' on a weekly basis in the car (or outside of the car) with my mom as a kid, thanks to XRT and her spankin' collection of cassettes. My mom is definitely the epicenter for my David Byrne adoration. So growing up on the tunes and then really coming around to them later in life was an awesome progression. Then of course, there was the whole thing where my eyes fell upon Stop Making Sense and that sealed the deal for me entirely. I'm 100% shocked I don't have that playing on my TV at all times. The way he moves, his e n e r g y- watching it is so sensational! I almost felt like in a way, that I had found my dancing counterpart, that ball of funk he is! I've been wanting to Dance on stage with David Byrne for way too long now. You see, I never thought I'd ACTUALLY get to see David work out his funky moves on stage or have his voice penetrate every ounce of my soul as I stood adoringly in the same room. This was one of my DREAMS. He's one of those "childhood artists" for me, someone I grew up on, who has made an influence on my life for a great period of time. I just can't believe I had the opportunity to see this artist on stage, which was very much my same feeling when I saw Natalie Merchant a couple years back. It meant that much more having this almost life-long connection to it. It seemed like an honor to just listen to the music David Byrne created; either solo, in collaboration, or with Talking Heads. When I heard that he was putting out an album with St. Vincent, I was sort of, um...OVER. THE. MOON and then when XRT announced that it would be part of their amazing concert series they are hosting right now, I freaked out, especially when The Chicago Theatre was announced as the venue. Here was my chance; my chance to see yet another artist that I love and admire, within the walls of The Chicago Theatre. Tickets were purchased (thanks to Dan!), the date was planned, and off to the city I went to delve into pure funk and love that David Byrne & Annie Clark would bring.

We enjoyed a fine meal at Elephant & Castle and supplemented ourselves just fine before the show started just after 8. So here's the thing, Dan and I were not sitting together, not even close, which was a bummer. I had main floor, he had balcony. Honestly though, I moved around way too much for anyone to keep up with me. So I was in row R...well, that didn't really work out for me. I never even really sat in my seat; as soon as I knew where it was, I just bolted for the front of the stage to snag a few pictures;

Look at all that brass just waiting to be played!
I was over the moon at this point. Absolutely revved.

What I was really stoked about was upon getting the album, Love This Giant, I was really pleased with it. Sometimes, new albums can be so hard for me to dive into, even if I know I'm going to see that artist live and need to gear up. This one was so easy for me to melt into and have a lot of emotion towards. It made me feel so many things at once, but mostly I just wanted to dance. Those horns man, they sound SO good live. It's such a funky collaboration; like it almost seems like...too perfect, but something you would have never conjured up in your head. To have both of these artists lay down vocals and instrumentals on one CD is absolutely awesome.

Here's the thing, I dance. I dance a lot at shows. In places or times where that restricts me when I'm at one, is a definite issue. So I started out standing off to the side off my seat, in the aisle. Yes, that's right, The Chicago Theatre is a seated venue, which has its huge perks and some downfalls. When 'Who' started floating through my surroundings, I got INTO THE GROOVE! I cannot even fathom staying seated for any point in that show. I peeked at the setlist for the St. Louis show that happened before ours, and I freaked out, I literally screamed when I saw that they had incorporated Talking Heads songs into the setlist. I knew what to expect song wise. See, I've done this before. I know you're not supposed to dance in the aisles of The Chicago Theatre, but I cannot abide those rules. I know that I have to stay back for x amount of time before I start really making my way down the aisle dancing. Of course, this could only really be contained until the fourth or fifth song that was rolled out; 'Strange Overtones' & 'I Am An Ape'. This was all going very well by the way, me aisle dancing. I wasn't bumping into anyone, I was rackin' up high fives from awesome audience members, and I was workin' up a sweat until, well, of course I got yelled at by security. That wouldn't be the first time that night. So in the meantime, I slowed my roll (hardly) and took more time to really admire the awesomely cheesy choreography that was being carried out on stage. The overall amount of movement and placements throughout was fantastic. It was all rather divine, along with the best of the brass being projected through the theatre. It was such a neat album to hear carried out live. The lights were fantastic too, the whole layout of the whole concert was something my brain wants to have on repeat forever.    I love it when after a few songs in David chuckled in reaction to something an audience member said and Annie chimed in with "We didn't choreograph laughter..." I love her and her adorable wit.

When 'This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)' came on, I just about lost it. I went real close to the stage this time and tried to soak up every ounce of what was happening (and then of course I got yelled at by security). Was this REALLY being played in front of me?! I mean, yeah, I knew what to expect in terms of song choice, but seeing it on paper and having your eardrums soak up the sound are two different things here. It was delightful. The rest of the setlist was delicious; (some of this I'm a bit fuzzy on)

this was a great sum-up of the show that I found on YouTube.
It's not mine and it's not even from the same show,
but it is on pointe to what happened and is definitely worth the watch!

Setlist: Who, Weekend In The Dust, Save Me From What I Want, Strange Overtones, I Am An Ape, Marrow, This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody), The Forest Awakes, Optimist, Like Humans Do, Lightning, Lazarus, Cheerleader, Lazy, I Should Watch TV ♥, Northern Lights, The One Who Broke Your Heart, Outside of Space & Time.

Encore 1: Cruel, Burning Down The House
Encore 2: The Party, Road To Nowhere

Me under the magical little lights at the magical venue! I love The Chicago Theatre!

David was conducting me in dance...or so I'd like to think.

Of course, I knew that I wouldn't be able to continually dancing around in the same area that I had been, so I was on a hunt for a new spot. Which is so disappointing. IT WAS DAVID BYRNE! LET THE PEOPLE DANCE! I knew there had been a handful of seats closer to the stage, but I wanted to get into the middle of this crowd, I wanted to be in front of Byrne & Clark. So I made sure to wait for the perfect moment to head over and out into the next aisle. Before I knew it I was in row MM, CENTER, on the aisle with a 5 empty seats next to me. Can you say "PERFECT"?! A few people joined in there to dance with me, which is always nice. The song I was most excited for, besides the big Talking Heads hits, was 'I Should Watch TV'. This song rocked me to the core the first time I heard it and continues to do so (no seriously, I have to listen to it, like, 8 times a day). I knew I had to be scampering down the aisle when it was on as well as exhibit some dance moves I had thrown along with it. I love how David went into it with a little story, making the anticipation that much greater. I am so glad they played it so I could expend so much energy into 3 minutes and 09 seconds. I was sort of shocked at the amount of people NOT really moving. A lot of people were standing on the main floor, but no one was really getting down with the tunes. Did they know which concert they were at? Really? It's DB, you should just get up and dance if he's just standing in front of you.


Here was 'Burnin' Down The House', which was just UNREAL.
Again, this is not mine, it's from the show before mine, but same feel!
But seeing 'Road To Nowhere' was exquisite, especially for the last tune. Wow. WOW!

I cannot believe I actually got to see him on stage performing this song or any Talking Heads song for that matter. The energy they exuded was absolutely beyond. Annie and David had such a nice chemistry on stage and he sounds so, so good still. He hit every note so well and just really took command of the stage. He is such an artist and it was an honor to be in his presence and have his eyes catch mine in a groovy tune that night. I can tell you that my shirt was soaked with sweat for a good hour and a half after it was over. And Annie? To see her play that guitar is righteous. She can create sound on that thing, it's not just a guitar for her. She's truly amazing and hard to take your eyes off of, even with someone like David Byrne standing next to her.

I tried waiting outside the venue for a good hour to try to snag a shot of the dynamic duo, but no such luck, only good conversations with other people waiting. No such luck even snagging a set list from that show, man! I was one of the last people away from the stage at the end begging [yes, begging] for that musical list. A few people mentioned that they thought it seemed more sided towards St. Vincent, but I thought David had a lot of shining moments that did not include Annie. The album is well divided, too. I think they both bring something different to the table and those things they brought were mucho importante. In the interviews I watch with them summing it up, it seemed like so much back and fourth, and even Annie said that he was really able to turn her ideas into songs and music. I can see how some people might not receive it, but if you even remotely like Talking Heads or St. Vincent, you must check it out. It is a great, distinguishable mix between the both of them, with this otherworldly brass element that makes it ROCK.

The best part is that even after the show, I'm still bumpin' the album like CRAZY. I literally almost feel odd listening to anything else. Some shows are like that for me, where I'm swimming in the album for weeks after the show is over. Sometimes I have a hard time listening to it because I want to keep that memory there, in that venue. I hope my excitement towards this show has got you excited to sample the album, or buy it and love it 'till the end of time. Let me know your thoughts! If there are tickets available for your town- SNAG THEM UP! Try to avoid security if you're dancing in the aisles!


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